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Sunday, April 07, 2019 

Does the Shazam movie have "woke" elements?

John Nolte took a look at the new movie based on the original Captain Marvel from the Golden Age. He does at the least consider it superior to Marvel studios' ridicule of their own properties starring Brie Larson, but says there's still elements abound that seem unnecessary:
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) lost his mother (literally) at a winter carnival and is now a troubled foster kid determined to find her. After getting in trouble with the police (again), he ends up in the care of Victor and Rosa Vasquez (Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans) who run the Woke Foster Home of Identity Politics:
  • Handicapped boy – check.
  • Black girl – check.
  • Hispanic, overweight boy – check.
  • White teenage girl – check.
  • Asian boy – check, check, check.
I kept waiting for the trans boy with a harelip to pop out of the bathroom.
I figure we're lucky if that didn't happen. Still, I suppose there's an argument this is a case of superfluous diversity casting by skin color, rather than any focus, say, on different nationalities, ethnicities and even what cultural ideas they like to follow.

But that may still be nothing compared to the following:
Naturally there’s a Woke Moment. Shazam rushes to save a woman from a mugging but she’s already saved herself because she doesn’t need his toxic masculinity because women are mighty n’ stuff.

To be fair, though, that’s a minor annoyance. Shazam! is a whole lot more fun than Brie Larson’s humor-free Captain Marvelette, which co-starred Samuel L. Jackson and the six-foot steel rod jammed up her backside.
I get the feeling that scene wasn't played for laughs, and that would have to be the biggest problem with a lot of these modern movies - they trash comedy for the sake of identity politics. No less annoying, however, is the realization this film appears to draw from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's New 52 rendition, which was loathsome. And when the source material the film builds upon is so base, how can you really appreciate it for real? Someday, pop culture buffs will piece two and two together and shake their heads in disbelief that bad stories became the wellspring for quite a few movies and video games. Besides, if identity politics is all modern movies will be about, then entertainment will be of far less value compared to yesteryear's.

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In fairness to he movie, the original source material, the comics of the 1940s, already had the crippled boy (Freddy Freeman) and the young girl (Mary Batson Bromfield). They also had ethnic representation - one of the Ltt Marvels was a hillbilly, and Mary had been raised by a Jewish family (hinted at in the original, canonical in the 70s).

From what I've heard (haven't seen it yet), the movie does have some PC elements, such as token ethnic characters, but it doesn't constantly beat you over the head with it.

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